The newly elected French President Francois Hollande unveiled a government of mainly moderate Socialists and longtime allies Wednesday as his new Prime Minister vowed to work quickly to put the country back on its feet.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Hollande’s new government would waste no time and would hold its first meeting today, despite it being a public holiday, and would address the economic crisis.
Here are short profiles of the new French Defense & Interior Ministers
Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian
Born into a Christian working-class family in the northwestern Brittany region, the 64-year-old Le Drian (Photo) has worked with Hollande for over 30 years and shares his social-democratic principles.
A known pro-European, Le Drian is reportedly little interested in the courtly world of Parisian politics, and described by some as obstinate.
He travelled recently to Washington, London and Brussels to prepare for the NATO summit opening in Chicago on Sunday. Ironically, Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy offered him the defense portfolio in 2007, which he refused.
Le Drian served as MP and then Mayor of his native Lorient where he familiarized himself with the defense portfolio thanks to regular contacts with local naval dockyards.
He was Secretary of State for the sea under Prime Minister Edith Cresson in 1991 and also Deputy Head of the National Assembly’s defense committee.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls
A free-market modernizer seen as on the right of the Socialist Party, Valls is, at only 49, a possible future presidential hopeful.
Currently the Mayor and Parliamentary Representative for the Paris suburb of Evry, he served as Communications Director in Hollande’s campaign.
Eyebrows were raised at his appointment, with Hollande having defeated Valls in the Socialist primary, but he proved loyal and energetic on the trail.
Valls was born in Spain and was naturalized as a French citizen at 20. He was an Advisor to former Socialist Prime Ministers Jospin and Michel Rocard and is an opponent of Aubry.